Climate Resilience and Adaptation


Climate change refers to the increasing changes in the measure of climate over a long period of time – including precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns. These patterns are intensified by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and land use changes (i.e., deforestation) resulting in more heat retention and increased surface temperatures. Climate change can lead to increased flooding and drought, more frequent extreme weather events, sea level rise, species extinction, and can even impact human health.


Tribal Nations are at the front lines of climate changes as it threatens the traditional lands, foods, and lifestyles of many communities. As a result, many Tribes are working to assess vulnerabilities and develop climate adaptation and resilience strategies.


Thirty by thirty (30×30) is a global initiative to conserve at least 30 percent of the land and ocean by 2030, the minimum step scientists say is needed to pull us back from the tipping point that nature and our climate has reached. In the 116th congress, the 30×30 Resolution to Save Nature (S.RES.372) was introduced in the Senate supported by Representative Haaland and Senator Udall. The Biden Administration adopted the goals of 30×30 in Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and in the America the Beautiful initiative. Read the Year One Report.

In a letter to congress, a Tribal leaders addressed how the 30×30 initiative is an opportunity to safeguard the environment and Tribal cultural values, strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship, and uphold Tribal sovereignty and self-determination.

“Tribal Nations are key to the success of the 30×30 policy initiative in the U.S. as they are intrinsically linked, presently and historically, to existing and prospective protected areas. Tribal Nations are the original stewards of these lands and waters and have been the most effective managers and protectors of biodiversity since time immemorial….The 30×30 policy serves as a vitally important opportunity to safeguard the environment, Tribal cultural values, strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship, and uphold Tribal sovereignty and self-determination.”

—Letter from Tribal Leaders and Tribal organization leaders

Representative Haaland led a Tribal Leader Forum on 30×30 Policy. A Tribal Leader statement identified Tribal key priorities for 30×30 ( (letter). “The 30×30 policy serves as a vitally important opportunity to safeguard the environment, Tribal cultural values, strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship, and uphold Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. We have identified key priorities related to (1) Sovereignty, (2) Consultation, (3) Representation, (4) Resources, and (5) Evaluation that can strengthen the government-to-government collaboration we must undertake to safeguard the environment.”  

NAFWS was included in Representative Haaland’s 30×30 Tribal Leader’s Forum in September 2020. NAFWS will provide education on 30×30 policy and impacts to Tribes in 2021.


A preliminary report to the National Climate Task Force recommending a 10-year, locally led campaign to conserve and restore the lands and waters upon which we all depend, and that binds us together as Americans. 


NAFWS recognizes that Tribal communities are often amongst the first and most severely impacted by climate change. NAFWS supports Tribal Nations prepare for and respond to climate-related environmental impacts through the following actions:

  • Host climate change related workshops at regional and national conferences
  • Provide travel assistance for Southwest Region members and member Tribes to attend the 2022 National Conference climate workshops with BIA Climate Resiliency funding
  • Partner with Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) and Tribal Climate Science Liaisons
  • Partner with the USGS Alaska Climate Adaptation Center (CASC) to hiring three Tribal Climate Resilience Liaisons to provide  outreach and extension programming on Tribal climate-impact related issues concerns and adaptation strategies across Alaska
  • Provide education on the 30×30 initiative

NAFWS Resources

The Status of Tribes and Climate Change (STACC) Report
SW Region Climate Travel Assistance

Additional Resources

U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Fifth National Climate Assessment Webinar Series
BIA Climate Resilience Request for Proposals
Climate Adaptation Science Centers
Tribal Climate Adaptation Guidebook
Tribal Climate Tool
U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
Alaska Tribal Resilience Learning Network
EPA Climate Adaptation Plans

Keep Me Informed on Future Projects

In Recognition of Their Support

The Native American Fish and Wildlife Society would like to thank those organizations that provided us with support over the years. With them we grew an effective national communications network for the exchange of information and management techniques related to self-determined tribal fish and wildlife management.

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